Unless it's a collector's item, don't bother spending $12k on a 1978 car.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

Last month, I went to a car show and swap meet and saw a 1978 Ford LTD for sale. This car has only 270 miles (yes, 270 original miles!). This car is in showroom mint condition inside and out, and the car was stored in a heated garage all its life. The owner is asking $12,000. Because the car sat in a garage for so many years, what would you advise about the condition of the engine and suspension? Also, do you think it would be worth paying this price for this car?

RAY: Hey, Frank, what are you, nuts? Even if the car is in absolutely perfect, showroom condition, is it ever going to be any better than it was in 1978?

TOM: Of course not. And for a little more money, you can buy a new car with 1993 technology, and take advantage of some of the vast improvements that have been made in cars over the last 15 years.

RAY: For example, for about eight bucks more (actually, a few thousand), you can get a brand new Ford Taurus or Dodge Intrepid with dual air bags and anti-lock brakes. And it'll REALLY be in showroom condition, because it'll be right out of the showroom!

TOM: And with either of those cars, you'll get more reliability, better fuel economy, less pollution, better handling, a quieter ride, better resale value, and better ergonomics than in a '78 LTD.

RAY: So unless it has some great nostalgic value to you (like something of great significance happened to you in the back seat of a 1978 LTD), my advice would be to avoid this car. It's not a collector's item, it's just an old car that hasn't been driven into the ground yet.

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